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Florida Companies to Watch 2014 Winners

Business Incubation Flourishes in Central FL

Profiles of Leading 2nd Stage Companies

FALL 2014

CREATING JOBS THROUGHOUT FLORIDA

TURNING DISCOVERIES INTO

INNOVATIVE BUSINESSES

 .J. Soileau, Ph.D., VP, Research M & Commercialization at UCF

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THE RACE TO BUILD

WHAT’S

NEXT

Envisioning the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center

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ON THE COVER

M.J. SOILEAU, PH.D.

CREATING A CULTURE OF INNOVATION

Florida Comp anies to Watch 2014 Winners

Business Incub ation Flourishes in Central Fl

Profiles of Leadi ng 2nd Stage Compa nies

Creating Jobs

throughout

InnovatIve Businesses M.J. Soileau, Ph.D., VP, & Commercialization Research at UCF

THE RACE TO

M.J. Soileau doesn’t shy away from a challenge and he has been influencing the economic infrastructure in Central Florida since he arrived here in 1987.

Thomas O’Neal, Ph.D. Associate VP for Research & Commercialization, University of Central Florida

Fall 2014

Florida

TURNING DISC OVERIES INTO

+

BUILD

WHAT’S

NEXT

Envisioning the Florida Manufacturing Researc Advanced h Center

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When M.J., who has a Ph.D. in electric engineering and quantum electronics, a master’s in physics and optics and a bachelor’s degree in astronomy and physics, moved from the University of North Texas to a little university in east Orlando called the University of Central Florida, he and his team recognized an opportunity to build an optics and photonics research center from the ground up. Having worked for M.J. for years, I don’t know of anybody else with the deftness to have succeeded on the scientific, academic, political, and personal fronts as well as he did. M.J. inspires great loyalty from his team members because no matter how hard we think we are working, he will work harder. The Center for Research & Education in Optics and Lasers - College of Optics & Photonics is now one of the most respected centers of its kind in the world. It has created a culture of innovation that has spawned 250-plus patents and 23 spinoff companies. It is where I got my start at UCF and it is where I realized the need we had in Central Florida for a community-based incubation program and other innovation services. We are now a national leader in those programs as well. When he received the Orlando Economic Development Commission’s Chairman’s Award last spring, M.J. remarked on the need to double up on our efforts to build tech-based companies in Central Florida if we are serious about diversifying our economy. The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center is the latest effort to receive the benefit of M.J.’s laser focus and I am certain we will all be better served for seeing it succeed.

“M.J.’s intelligence, tenacity and passion have helped our university grow into one of the nation’s major metropolitan research universities and, more importantly, have helped UCF make major contributions to the economic growth and diversity of the Central Florida region.” — John C. Hitt, Ph.D., UCF President


The Race to Build

“WHAT’S NEXT” Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center

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W

inston Churchill correctly observed that one of the best ways to predict the future is to know the past. Recently, the University of Central Florida, the Orlando Economic Development Commission, Osceola County and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council announced their plans to open the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, to recruit or to create the world’s first industry-led “smart sensor consortium.” To understand what this could mean to Central Florida’s future, a quick review of the past may provide perspective and understanding on this innovative endeavor. In the 1980s, U.S. high technology companies and the federal government were watching a steady migration of the development and manufacturing of the latest technological breakthroughs to the Pacific Rim. At that time, a public/private consortium was conceived as a partnership between the United States government and 14 U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturers to solve common manufacturing problems and regain competitiveness in the most lucrative and strategic manufacturing sector.

Austin’s Quantum Leap

This association was actually preceded by another comparable consortium, the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) founded in 1982. MCC was formed to address similar challenges and after conducting a national site selection search, it chose Austin, Texas over 57 other cities in 27 states to locate its headquarters. The key ingredient in the choice of Austin, according to many observers, was the collaboration among government, business and the University of Texas, along with other notable manufacturing operations already located in Austin like Texas Instruments and Motorola. In early 1988, Austin again won a much heralded national competition to become the site for both these consortiums. More than 30 years later, Austin is home to more than 2,200 technology companies, employing approximately 120,000 of the region’s workforce. These include Samsung’s only semiconductor plant located outside Korea, Dell’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations, Freescale Semiconductor, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and many others.

Albany’s “Tech Valley”

Albany had watched companies headquartered in New York, like IBM, losing its U.S.-based manufacturing technology edge for decades. So in 2001, the state of New York invested in a handful of education “centers of excellence” intended to spur high-tech growth. In January 2003, the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany established a major partnership to commercialize advanced semiconductor, nanotechnology and other emerging technologies. The school has spent more than $1 billion to build cutting-edge research “clean rooms” – the type of hypersanitary labs where engineers in white suits etch out the integrated electrical circuits used worldwide in electronics. Then, companies in the computer chip supply chain, facing spiraling increases in development costs, relocated employees to the nanoscience center – which in 2004 became a college – to conduct research and collaborate with competitors. The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, which has become a catalyst in the race to build everfaster, ever-smaller components and products, has attracted hundreds of companies and created thousands of high paying jobs. This includes GlobalFounderies, a company formed by the semiconductor firm AMD and the investment arm of Abu Dhabi. They are building the state’s first chip fabrication plant north of Albany, which will boast a $4.6 billion, 300,000-sq.-ft. clean room.


If You Build It, They Will Come… There is a highly competitive environment to locate these helixes of economic development and innovation, which these consortiums and ones like them represent. In this race there are two essentials in gaining a competitive edge. First is creating the infrastructure or preexisting facilities where academic researchers and industry experts can work side by side to move university discoveries to the manufacturing floor. Dr. M.J. Soileau, the vice president for research and commercialization at UCF, observed, “This type of collaboration is fundamental to what we do at UCF, to try and weave ourselves into the economic fabric of the region – from our work with and through the Central Florida High Tech Corridor Council, to our collaboration with local industry partners. We have been watching and participating with groups that have been successful in meshing the academic world with the business world, to ensure that the next new knowledge actually moves into production.

MOORE’S LAW “The number of transistors and resistors on a chip doubles every 18 months,” was a statement Intel Co-Founder Gordon Moore made regarding the pace of semiconductor technology development. He made this famous comment in 1965 when there were approximately 60 devices on a chip. Proving Moore’s Law to be rather accurate, four decades later, Intel placed 1.7 billion transistors on its Itanium chip. In 1975, Moore extended the 18 months to 24 months. Recently, he added that the cost of a semiconductor manufacturing plant doubles with each generation of microprocessor.

IV]SEPTEMBER2014

“We also are developing the workforce necessary for the industry to survive or to bridge, what in this country we sometimes call, ‘the valley of death.’ Meaning, we do a great job in our universities and research centers developing the next great thing, but then they aren’t producing it here, but somewhere else. The nation is waking up to the fundamental idea that we need to re-shore manufacturing.” This is what the 100,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center will become; a place where university researchers and industry experts can bridge the gap between the revolutionary research breakthroughs and the significant challenges of manufacturing products that incorporate these breakthroughs in a cost effective way. The Center will be built on 20 acres owned by Osceola County near the intersection of US 192 and Florida’s Turnpike. Nearly 250 additional acres are available for development by other research and manufacturing partners. The memorandum of understanding approved by the Osceola County Commission and the Orlando Economic Development Commission with UCF and Florida High Tech Corridor Council includes a cash commitment by the county, an additional $46 million in-kind support for power, water and sewer infrastructure needed at the site, and a $1 million cash and $4 million in-kind commitment from the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. UCF will provide $10 million, from non-state and non-tuition sources to help design the center and for start-up costs, as well as an additional $7 million to hire gifted researchers. Once completed, the facility will be leased to UCF to oversee.

The Right Place, At the Right Time One leader who is not a stranger to these types of projects is Rick Weddle, the president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. Before taking the helm at the EDC, Weddle spent seven years as president and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, the owner and developer of the Research Triangle Park, one of the most successful academic/industry collaboration arenas in the nation. Weddle observed, “Over and over again we have tried and failed to recruit advanced manufacturing companies here because of a lack of infrastructure. But this proposed facility will enable us to compete for the types of large economic development projects that previously have eluded us.” Though it may seem like all of this has happened overnight, it is one of those overnight successes that was years in the making. Weddle, Dr. Soileau, UCF President Dr. John Hitt and a dedicated team of local leaders have been working on this project for several years. When Donald Fisher, Osceola’s County Manager, was asked how the County Commission moved so rapidly to approve a project that other counties had balked at, he said, “We had been looking for the right opportunity for some time and when this one presented itself, we were ready. It will change our region as we know it.”


Chasing What’s Next The second key in a project that could alter the manufacturing landscape of Florida and produce a research park which may have a greater impact than Medical City, is anticipating where technology and the market are trending. To use an early 20th century analogy, you don’t want to design your regional manufacturing economy to build horse-drawn buggies while Henry Ford is starting to turn out automobiles. Disruptive technologies are those that alter the way life and civilization are done. The arch, the printing press, steam engines, the internal combustion engine, harnessing electricity and the computer chip, are all examples. According to Dr. Soileau, smart sensor technology will likely be the next tsunami of innovation on the horizon. Sensors will quickly take the Internet of Things (see sidebar) from the domain of research into everyday life, producing smart roads, smart buildings, smart cars (even cars that could drive themselves), not to mention applications in the biomedical field. It is technology that can touch, taste, see, hear and smell, then make a myriad of adjustments without direct human involvement. Dr. Hitt was quoted as saying smart sensors hold promise for advancements “beyond our power to predict.” We are already impacted daily by sensor technology, but according to Dr. Soileau, Moore’s Law about rapidity with which the number of transistors used in hardware doubles, the silicon chip may be reaching its capacity. For this and other reasons, the international smart sensors market is projected to reach $7.8 billion by next year, according to Global Industry Analysts, Inc., and the worldwide demand is projected to pass $1 trillion in the next decade. If Central Florida is to be on the leading edge of this next wave of manufacturing innovation, the creation of the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Osceola County may be the most important step in achieving that objective. As Churchill said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT) IoT is the idea that the first version of the Internet was about data created by people, while the next version is about data created by things. “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.” – Kevin Ashton, an expert on digital innovation, said in the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Journal

ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FLORIDA TURNPIKE

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FAMRC

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Maintaining the

MOMENTUM Business Incubation Gears Up in Central Florida

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s the region celebrates and wraps its collective mind around the impact of the new research center, the Economic Gardening® efforts of UCF’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (UCFCIE) is becoming the focus of national and international business development efforts. The National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) announced that it is preparing to relocate its headquarters to Orlando and form the Global Training Center for Business Incubation & Innovation. Winning out over 30 potential cities, including Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix, this is the latest acknowledgement of the region’s reputation as a hub for business innovation. “NBIA selected Orlando because of its reputation as being the home of entrepreneurship and innovation, making it the ideal place to expand our programs and enhance our mission,” said Karl R. LaPan, NBIA’s board chairman, interim president and CEO. “The fact that the Orlando region has one of the best business incubation network systems in the world is icing on the cake.”

In addition to the UCF Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP), one of the largest in the Southeast and 2013 NBIA Incubator Network of the Year, the area is also home to the National Entrepreneur Center, one of only two such centers in the nation. It has coached and trained more than 100,000 businesses and facilitated more than $150 million in loans since its inception in 2003. “This is truly a win-win for our region as we welcome the premier organization for business incubation in the country; this is very good for the Orlando area, NBIA and for innovative companies everywhere,” commented Jerry Ross, executive director of the National Entrepreneur Center. Incoming NBIA Chairman Elect and executive director of the UCFBIP Dr. Tom O’Neal observed, “The relocation of the NBIA to Orlando puts the region in the forefront of innovation-related activity in the world. By working with the NBIA and having direct access to its expertise, we hope to further strengthen the region’s innovation culture by building stronger and more successful companies.”

What Is the NBIA?

The National Business Incubation Association is the world’s leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship. Each year it provides thousands of professionals with information, education, advocacy and networking resources to bring excellence to the process of assisting earlystage companies. An elected, voting board of

NATIONAL BUSINESS INCUBATION ASSOCIATION • 930 organizations • 2,200 professional members • 49,000 start-up companies assisted through North American incubators • 200,000 full-time jobs created • $15 billion in annual revenue generated


directors representing the world’s leading incubators governs the association. The NBIA includes 930 organizations and 2,200 professional members in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1985, their business incubation programs have catalyzed the process of starting and growing companies by providing entrepreneurs with the expertise, networks and tools they need to make their ventures successful. NBIA estimates that in 2011 alone, North American incubators assisted approximately 49,000 start-up companies which provided full-time employment for nearly 200,000 workers and generated annual revenue of nearly $15 billion. “Every now and then things come along that are bigger and more profound than they initially appear, in terms of their

2013 REGIONAL ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY ON UCFBIP • 1,856 jobs directly sustained in Central Florida • 1,500 jobs indirectly sustained in Central Florida • $58,000 average income • $18.5 million in state and local tax revenues • $6.16 fiscal return for every $1 of public investment

VIII]SEPTEMBER2014

“The relocation of the NBIA to Orlando puts the region in the forefront of innovation-related activity in the world.” span of control or sphere of influence. The NBIA is like that; they are a network of people and organizations that occupy a strategic space in the economic development continuum of incubation and innovation. If you know them, you know a lot of people,” observed Rick Weddle, Orlando EDC president and CEO. “Also, there are projects which create a strong validation of the efforts that have been made in this area to promote entrepreneurialism, and having the NBIA move their headquarters here is one of the strongest.”

15 Year Celebration UCFBIP Thanks to the resources, coaching and infrastructure provided to local entrepreneurs by the UCF Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP), which is celebrating its 15th anniversary in October, small businesses are making a big impact on the Central Florida economy. A recent economic impact study demonstrated that more than 3,350 jobs and an estimated $620 million in regional economic output were the result of local startup companies that received help from the business development resource. Commissioned by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the 2013 Regional Economic Impact Study analyzed and documented the productivity and sustainability of the UCFBIP – the economic development partnership between private enterprise and several local governments. Conducted independently by Dr. Vernet Lasrado, assistant director of research at UCF, the impact study concluded that from Oct. 1, 2011, through June 30, 2013, the UCFBIP helped these companies which directly sustained 1,856 jobs in the Central Florida region and indirectly sustained an additional 1,500 jobs, with employees of these firms earning an average income of more than $58,000. In addition, these companies generated more than $18.5 million in state and local tax revenues. “For me, the most impressive finding was the return on investment,” said Dr. O’Neal. “The study concluded that during the study period, the UCF Business Incubation Program helped generate a fiscal return of $6.16 for every $1 of public investment.” According to Dr. O’Neal, the study ultimately confirmed his idea that a focused university-based incubation program can be one of the most effective ways private enterprise can stimulate local economic development, spur job growth and help rebuild the economy. [A copy of the 2013 Regional Economic Impact Study can be found online at Incubator.UCF.edu/business-plan/resources.]


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ALL YOU

NEED FOR

YOUR BUSINESS

IS IN THE

FLORIDA

HIGH TECH CORRIDOR.

A talented and diverse workforce. Top-ranked business climate. Easy access to research faculty at three world-class universities. Florida’s High Tech Corridor has everything you need to grow your company. VISIT WWW.FLORIDAHIGHTECH.COM.


2014WINNERS

Florida Companies to Watch 2014 marks the fourth anniversary of Florida Companies to Watch, a program that celebrates growing second-stage growth companies headquartered in Florida. Florida Companies to Watch is presented by GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation, as a unique way to recognize and honor second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace and innovative strategies and processes, which make them “worth watching.� Winners will be recognized at the annual awards program on Oct. 23 at Hard Rock Live, CityWalk, in Orlando. COMPANY 11th Hour Business Centers, LLC 3dcart Across Borders Management Consulting Group, LLC Akron Biotech Alakai Defense Systems, Inc. Altavian, Inc. AML Superconductivity and Magnetics Anuva Manufacturing Services, Inc. Argosy Group International, LLC Aviation Partners Group, Inc. AZZLY Bean Team Beneficial Blends, LLC BioZone Scientific International, Inc. Blinc International, Inc. CPR Tools, Inc. Clean the World Global Crunchy Logistics, LLC CSI Specialty Group Destination MCO, Inc. Diamondback Towers, LLC Digitec Interactive, LLC Distinctive Kitchen and Baths Employment Technologies Corporation EnableSoft, Inc. Enterprise Risk Management GameSim, Inc. GDKN Corporation GO Auto Recycling Informed Medical Decisions, Inc. Innovated Industrial Services IRISS Lenco Marine, Inc. Level 3 Inspection, LLC MCCi, LLC MobileHelp Moten Tate, Inc. PAC Seating Systems Photon-X, Inc. PPi Technologies Group Pyure Brands, LLC QuantumFlo, Inc. SeaDek Marine Products SEARCH Shadow Health, Inc. Synergy Settlement Services The Smart Companies UCT Coatings Vestagen Technical Textiles, Inc. xByte Technologies

GrowFL.com info@GrowFL.com

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Orange Broward Seminole Palm Beach Pinellas Alachua Brevard Brevard Orange Charlotte Indian River Leon Hillsborough Orange Palm Beach Hendry Orange Orange Seminole Orange Brevard Orange Palm Beach Orange Orange Miami-Dade Orange Broward Duval Pinellas Polk Manatee Martin Martin Leon Palm Beach Orange Martin Osceola Sarasota Collier Volusia Brevard Alachua Alachua Orange Lee Martin Orange Manatee

Orlando Tamarac Altamonte Springs Boca Raton Largo Gainesville Palm Bay W. Melbourne Orlando Punta Gorda Vero Beach Tallahassee Tampa Orlando Boca Raton LaBelle Orlando Orlando Sanford Orlando Cocoa Orlando Boca Raton Winter Park Orlando Coral Gables Orlando Pembroke Pines Jacksonville St. Petersburg Bartow Bradenton Stuart Stuart Tallahassee Boca Raton Orlando Palm City Kissimmee Sarasota Naples DeBary Rockledge Newberry Gainesville Orlando Fort Myers Palm City Orlando Bradenton

FLCTW.GrowFL.com #flctw SEPTEMBER2014[XI


S

omeone observed that surfers don’t make waves, but they do position themselves at the right place, at the right time and with the right equipment to catch waves. Akron Biotech is on the forefront of one of the most significant waves of medical innovation in history, supplying qualified raw materials and services to the regenerative medical industry.

AKRON BIOTECH CEO: Claudia Zylberberg Location: Boca Raton, FL Year Founded: 2006 Primary Business: Scientific and Technical Consulting Growth Last Year: 83% Website: AkronBiotech.com

Wikipedia describes this breakthrough as, “a process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function.” Adding, “This field holds the promise of engineering damaged tissues and organs via stimulating the body’s own repair mechanisms to functionally heal previously irreparable tissues or organs.” Claudia Zylberberg, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Akron Biotech, has more than 25 years’ experience in the biomedical research and biotechnology industries, and first-hand knowledge of what it takes to bring products through R&D, and on to approval and commercialization. She is highly knowledgeable

about current FDA regulations, qualification of raw materials, process design and validation, and bioassay development. She is an advisor and consultant to organizations worldwide regarding the regulatory roadmap and commercialization of cell therapies and stem cell banking. She is also the inventor of numerous patented proprietary technologies, and has an extensive peer-reviewed publication record.

APG AVIATION President: Boris Nekrasov Location: Punta Gorda, FL Year Founded: 2006 Primary Business: Aviation Services Employees: 34 Growth Last Year: 18% Website: Avionix.com

T

hey are a Florida company with a global reach. When the United Nations mandated in 2013 that all helicopters flying under the UN flag be equipped with Heli-TAWS (a terrain awareness and warning system), APG Aviation was able to respond to the need by working with operators in Napal, Afghanistan, Siberia and Africa. With a staff that is fluent in six languages, along with engineers and technicians that are American and Russian trained, their potential is just beginning to climb. Leveraging their international relationships and expertise, APG contracted with Italian-based, OMA SUD Sky Technologies to assemble and complete the SKYCAR, a twin engine, five-

XII]SEPTEMBER2014

passenger aircraft. Components of the SKYCAR are shipped to APG’s avionics hangar at the Punta Gorda Airport where it is assembled, the avionics installed and it is completed for flight testing. Through strategic acquisitions like Eastern Avionics and more recently Aircraft Depot, APG has continued to expand their capabilities and market share. Their expertise covers the gamut of general aviation services from avionics installation, custom panels, annual inspections and certifications to maintenance and repairs, vibrations analysis and propeller balancing. Their skill and reputation have made them the choice of Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota Counties’ Sheriff’s Offices, the local civil Air Patrol and warbirds (vintage military aircraft).


AZZLY

in structured data fields from the moment a patient requests an appointment, arrives for his or her first visit with a healthcare provider, and ends when that person’s balance equals zero. All features and functions required to run a modern successful healthcare practice from A to Z (AZZLY) are seamlessly integrated to reduce waste and inefficiencies and to support business analytics.

CEO: Coletta Dorado Location: Vero Beach, FL Year Founded: 2009 Primary Business: Health Information Technology Growth Last Year: 278% Employees: 13 Website: AZZLY.com

H

ealthcare reform and the push for deficit reduction are forcing providers to address long‐standing inefficiencies and shortfalls around the RCM process, driving the market for innovative next generation Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) solutions (the process that manages claims processing, payment and revenue generation). This need opened the field to a solution such as AZZLY.

Founder and CEO Coletta Dorado commented on her company’s pivotal moment, “I attended a major healthcare conference looking not to reinvent the wheel, but for a good solution that we could make great. When I realized that what was considered ‘new’ technology was built on old programing, we realized we had a great opportunity to move healthcare to the cloud and engage patients and providers in better outcomes.”

AZZLY was formed to introduce a Total Patient Care Management Solution to bridge the gap between payer, provider and patient. The AZZLY Core Platform is an all‐in one cloud based system that captures all patient information

J

ohn Benkert, CPR Tools CEO, says the most important lesson he’s learned on his entrepreneurial journey is, “I really would love to say something poetic or profound, but honestly the biggest lesson I have learned is that there is no ‘silver bullet’ or ‘easy way.’ Everything is hard work.”

CPR TOOLS CEO: John Benkert Location: LaBelle, FL Year Founded: 1995 Primary Business: Information Technology Growth Last Year: 83% Employees: 32 Website: CPRTools.net

But his hard work has paid off at CPR Tools, a data recovery and data security company, providing products, services, and training for two important markets. The first is data recovery, which most people think of as a “hard drive crash.” Benkert explains, “In today’s world data recovery is performed on all kinds of storage devices including phones, tablets, memory cards, and more. CPR Tools was one of the first data recovery companies in the world and is known worldwide for our ability to recover data from damaged media.”

the data security market space. It really was that simple and we began to build products and provide services for ‘End-of-Life’ data security.” By not only being an industry leader, but keeping all of their design, building and testing services on their products here in Florida, they have a unique market edge.

The other side of the business happened when one of CPR’s customers asked, “Since you guys are the best at recovering data, then you should be the best at making sure the data is gone forever!” Bemlert said, “That is how we expanded into

SEPTEMBER2014[XIII


GO AUTO RECYCLING Co-CEO’s: Brian Shell & Jason Finley Location: Jacksonville, FL Year Founded: 2009 Primary Business: Auto Recycling Employees: 34 Growth Last Year: 20% Website: GoAutoRecycling.com

auto recycling business was “highly fragmented, lacked advanced technology, and was mainly mom and pop businesses, many of whom had no succession plans.”

F

ew realize that auto recycling is the largest supplier of raw materials to the scrap metal industry. With production costs rising and consumers becoming more environmentally conscious, what once was called a “junk yard” is now a technologically sophisticated and astutely managed raw materials and parts supplier, along with being a hazardous waste disposal operation.

Shell and Finley put together a business plan, found investors and launched their company which has garnered national attention. Reflecting, Shell said, “My wife told me that I came home from work happier than she had ever seen me. At the time it didn’t feel like it because we were working 12 hours a day, six to seven days per week.” Then added, “I love the freedom to run the business; to take accountability for the decisions I make and see the outcomes. As time has passed, I am now seeing people we hired growing and learning new skills.”

Go Auto’s founders had worked the other end of the supply chain, traveling the Pacific Rim for scrap metal suppliers. But wanting to stretch their entrepreneurial wings, they looked to the supply side, and according to Shell, found that the

I

t is regarded as one of science’s most famous understatements: “This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest.” So wrote James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 in the scientific paper they presented on the structure of the DNA-helix. Today, the impact of that understatement is shaping modern medicine’s approach to diagnosis and treatments.

INFORMED DNA CEO: David Nixon President & Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Rebecca Sutphen Location: St. Petersburg, FL Year Founded: 2007 Primary Business: Health Care and Social Assistance Employees: 43 Growth Last Year: 121% Website: InformedDNA.com

However, as Informed DNA’s CEO David Nixon, who adds his business acumen to president and chief medical officer Dr. Rebecca Sutphen’s research expertise explains, “There simply aren’t enough genetics specialists in the U.S. and this is leading to poor care and wasteful spending on inappropriate genetic testing. Our co-founders recognized that by improving access to genetics specialists with a phone/online service delivery model, patients would benefit from standard of care clinical genetics services and physicians would have decision support in ordering and interpreting genetic tests.”

“In 2014, less than 2 percent of Americans will access genetics services. By the end of the decade, genetics specialists

XIV]SEPTEMBER2014

will be an integral part of every healthcare team – leveraging genetic information to inform both medical management and prevention strategies,” Nixon added. From a financial standpoint, “Informed DNA’s Genetic Benefits Optimization solutions make for a compelling business case for physicians, hospitals and health plans alike.”


M

CCi understands the challenges organizations face every day with paper‐based processes. According to its CEO Donny Barstow, “We provide innovative solutions that transform these challenges into smart practices which improve efficiency, productivity and organizational structure.”

MCCi CEO: Donny Barstow Location: Tallahassee, FL Year Founded: 2003 Primary Business: Information Technology Growth Last Year: 7% Employees: 42 Website: MCCInnovations.com

MCCi has spent the last 10 years working with cities, counties, state, higher education, school districts and other organizations, on records and document management, document scanning, business workflow and open records request tracking. It is significant that MCCi is a Florida company and is the largest Laserfiche reseller in the world (a software development company that creates enterprise content management, business process automation, workflow, records management, document imaging and webform software). “A pivotal moment in the start‐up phase was when we reached 100 clients and knew we had developed a core niche to support sustainable growth,” Barstow said. Today they have over 100 clients in Florida and over 600 nationwide. It was then that MCCi separated from its parent company in 2001

(Municipal Code Corporation), “and developed a different business model and plan for sustainable growth.” “We are fanatical about client success. Success starts with our eagerness to understand our client’s goals,” Barstow explained. “We don’t just want to date our clients, but want our team to understand and practice the foundations of a longterm relationship.”

PROTON-X CEO: Blair Barbour Location: Kissimmee, FL Year Founded: 1999 Primary Business: Scientific R & D Growth Last Year: 4% Employees: 45 Website: Photon-x.com

U

ntil recently, Photon-X was based in Huntsville, Ala., but moved to Florida in order to reach new markets. This adds another high growth company to Central Florida’s burgeoning sensor, optics and simulation industry, as the company is a leading innovator with patented 3D technology, which is considered two to three years ahead of any research on Spatial Phase Imaging techniques. “In Alabama, Photon-X mainly contracted work for defense. Now that our company is in Florida, we are rapidly and successfully commercializing the technology in multiple industries alongside the market leaders in each industry and developing advanced solutions. We have continued to expand

our patent position (Photon‐X has a web of 17 patents) with global international patents so we can enlarge internationally to accelerate growth around the world,” commented CEO Blair Barbour. “Our company is poised for double digit growth as we commercialize our technology and deliver industry specific solutions with our partners in the healthcare, media, advertising and energy industries. Photon-X sensor technology is applicable to an endless range of market opportunities including solutions, applications and products for government, consumer markets such as law enforcement, security and military, arts and entertainment, manufacturing, medical, architecture, robotics, and consumer electronics. “Photon‐X’s culture is one where innovation thrives, team involvement is encouraged and empowered and risk taking is part of our daily routine.”

SEPTEMBER2014[XV


SHADOW HEALTH CEO: David Massias Location: Gainesville, FL Year Founded: 2011 Primary Business: Information Technology Projected Growth 2014: 46% Employees: 67 Website: ShadowHealth.com

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hadow Health is described as an education software developer of rich, interactive learning environments including the Digital Clinical Experience, for nursing and allied health education programs. Using this program, educators enhance teaching and learning in their classrooms, giving them more time to focus on student achievement. In the Digital Clinical Experience, students practice critical thinking, communication and procedural skills in an immersive, safe and always-available learning environment.

Technology Training) in 2012 allowed us to bring aboard a number of new employees, train them carefully in our culture and thus meet the needs of our expanding customer base. It also allowed us to hire mostly fulltime employees, eliminating the need for contract workers.” At a time when our nation is facing a critical shortage of qualified healthcare workers, Shadow Health is a technology innovator with a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit. Registered nurses are one of the largest segments of the U.S. workforce with nursing schools enrolling 350,000 annually, compared to 16,000 in medical school. Yet, nursing schools receive the least amount of federal research dollars. Shadow Health offers the nursing market innovative solutions which in turn impacts the national healthcare system.

According to CEO David Massias, the business expanded because of the impressive efforts of his marketing and sales teams. But what created the greatest momentum was, “A HBOTT grant (Healthcare Biomanufacturing Occupational and

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FLTREP MJ Soileau